Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Friday In Memphis - Part 1

It was Friday, June 15, 2012 and Music was alive in Memphis on this night.

Over at the Levitt Shell, The Reba Russell Band would be putting on a 90 minute show beginning at 7:30pm.

Beginning at 10pm, The Hard Rock down on Beale and Rufus Thomas was presenting The Bush League from Richmond, VA.
The Bush League were part of the 2012 IBC representing the Nachel' Blues Network and we met during that time.

The entire band had appeared on Music On The Couch back on June 4th and I had said I would be by to support them.

Jack Rowell, Jr., who had also appeared on the show, was playing with his band TripleThret at TJ Mulligans until about midnight and The Wampus Cats, led by Robert Tooms (from Reba's Band) would be at Neil's until 1:30pm.

Now, my problem was the last gig, because it meant driving back east instead of southeast toward home.

My bride, Nancy was under the weather, so I took it upon myself to make the first 3 gigs. A little map to show you the evening's stops.

(All photos Biggie By Clickie!)

Tonight, I share with you the opening of the evening. At the Levitt Shell, The Reba Russell Band.

The Levitt Shell is in Overton Park in Memphis. It is a beautiful outdoor venue where over 50 free concerts are held each year. They also host ticket-concerts, but the free shows are all made possible by a few big donors and those who attend the show, putting their $5 - $10 in the buckets which are passed around.

I have been a huge fan of this band from the time I moved to Memphis.

I have had the honor of speaking with Reba when she appeared on Music On The Couch back in September of 2010, and also speaking with Robert Tooms back in November of the same year.

On this night, their main drummer, Doug McMinn was unavailable so Jumpin' James Cunningham joined the band.

Reba fronts the band with soulful lead vocals and is also playing some acoustic guitar.

Robert Tooms plays keys and harp. Guitar duties are handled by one of the more unappreciated blues guitarist playing today, Josh Roberts and on bass is Wayne Russell, who also happens to be Reba's husband.

The crowd was totally in their back pocket from the moment Reba walked out and did a beautiful a Capella intro for their first song.

From there, it was batten down the hatches and hold onto your hats as the band played some standards, some covers and songs off their latest release entitled 8.

If you have a chance, check out The Reba Russell Band at a club or festival near you...well worth it! They seem to be close to home this summer, but in September they are appearing at the SnowyRange Music Festival in Laramie, Wyoming and they will be on the main stage Thursday evening at The Biscuit as they are almost every year.

The Levitt Shell

Reba, who has decided to
"go natural" with her hair...

The woman CAN sing the Blues.

On guitar with Wayne behind her

Jumpin' James Cunningham also plays
with Robert in the Wampus Cats

Josh Roberts - this kid should be playing
HUGE stages

Wayne Russell - solid on bass

Robert Tooms - fantastic fingers, and
a true Little Walter harp playing dude

Tomorrow, part 2 of my night of Music in Memphis!

All photos/words: Copyright VEMjr2012 Do not use without permission or credit

1 comment:

Travis Cody said...

Now that's a night full of music.